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Online K12: Status, Challenges, and Opportunities


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Title: Online K12: Status, Challenges, and Opportunities

Online K-12 Status, Challenges, and
Susan Patrick President and CEO North American
Council for Online Learning

Melody Thompson Assistant Professor and Director
of Doctoral Studies PSU Adult Education
North American Council for Online Learning
  • NACOL is the premier K-12 nonprofit organization
    in the field of online learning.
  • Provides leadership, advocacy, research, training
    and networking with experts in K-12 online
  • Ensure every student has access to the best
    education available regardless of geography,
    income or background.
  • Virtual School Symposium (VSS)

Distance Education in K-12 Public Schools
2002-2003 (NCES 2005)
  • 328,000 enrollments in 2002-2003
  • 36 of public school districts have students
    enrolled in distance education courses
  • Of these districts, 72 plan to expand their
    distance education courses
  • Distance education provides more course options
    to public school students
  • 50 of districts offered Advanced Placement or
    college-level courses
  • 80 cited the most important reason as offering
    courses not otherwise available at the school

Percentage Distribution of Enrollments in
Distance Education Courses 2002-03
Reasons for Offering Distance Education Courses
What Leaders Need to Know Four Key Ideas
  • 1 Online Learning Expands Options
  • The first impetus to the growth of K-12 distance
    education was an interest in expanding
    educational options and providing equal
    opportunities for all learners. (p.7)
  • 2 Online Learning Is Rapidly Growing
  • Recent Surveys show that K-12 online learning is
    a rapidly growing phenomenon. (p.4)
  • Clark 40,000-50,000 enrollments in 2000-2001
  • Eduventures 300,000 K-12 enrollments online
  • USED/NCES 328,000 enrollments in distance ed
  • Peak Group 500,000 enrollments in 2005
  • Growing 30 annually

Online Learning Works
  • 3 Is Effective Equal or Better
  • One conclusion seems clear On average, students
    seem to perform equally well or better
    academically in online learning. (p. 17)
  • 4 Improves Teaching
  • Teachers who teach online reported positive
    improvements in face-to-face, too.
  • Of those who reported teaching face-to-face
    while teaching online or subsequently, three in
    four reported a positive impact on their
    face-to-face teaching.
  • (p. 25)

Are Online Students Engaged?
Apex Apex Learning, Inc FLVS Florida
Virtual School VHSVirtual High School
Are Online Students Learning?
Apex Apex Learning, Inc FLVS Florida
Virtual School VHSVirtual High School
Online Learning National Education Technology
  • Goals related to E-Learning (pages 8-9)
  • Provide every student access to e-learning
  • Enable every teacher to participate in e-learning
  • Encourage the use of e-learning options to meet
    NCLB requirements (HQT, SES, choice)
  • Explore creative ways to fund e-learning
  • Develop quality measures and accreditation
    standards for e-learning that require those
    required for course credit

Michigan April 2006
  • First state to require online learning
  • In new high school graduation requirements
    every student must have an online learning
    experience or course
  • Need for online learning is greatest with
    students to access skills they will need to get
    ahead and compete in an increasingly
    technological workplace

68 High School Graduation Rate
  • Prepare them for the world they are entering
  • 68 graduate high school
  • 26 make it to sophomore year
  • 80 of jobs require postsecondary education
  • U.S.
  • 31 proficiency in reading at the 3rd grade

  • The Silent Epidemic
  • Gates Foundation commissioned first study of
    high school drop outs
  • 88 had passing grades
  • 69 were not motivated to work hard
  • 66 would have worked harder if more had been
    demanded of them
  • 81 called for more real world learning

  • Dual credit and exam-based courses in U.S.
    Public High Schools 2002-2003 (NCES 2005-09)
  • Schools with highest minority enrollment were the
    most likely to indicate that they did not offer
    any dual credit or exam-based courses
  • Schools in rural areas were more likely than
    schools in cities to offer courses for dual
    credit through distance education (33 vs. 11)
  • According to the report, over six in 10 schools
    offering dual-credit courses set eligibility
    requirements for students to enroll in such
    courses in 42 of such schools, one requirement
    was teacher recommendation.

Access to Dual Enrollment
  • Dual Enrollment of High School Students at
    Postsecondary Institutions 2002-2003 (NCES
  • 85 of postsecondary institutions had academic
    eligibility requirements for high school students
    to participate (GPA, standardized test, SAT/ACT,
    class rank)
  • 20 of students parents paid tuition
  • 5 of institutions with dual enrollment programs
    or 2 of all institutions had dual enrollment
    programs geared toward high school students at
    risk of academic failure.

Who Are Our Students?
  • Largest generation (36 of total population).
  • 31 are minorities more diverse than the adult
  • Have come of age along with the Internet.
  • Information has been universally available and
    free to them community is a digital place of
    common interest, not just a shared physical

Rise of the Millennials
  • Studies show that they are a capable,
    conscientious, concerned and optimistic
    generation, determined to succeed
  • 96 percent say that doing well in school is
    important to their lives.
  • 94 percent say they plan to continue their
    education after high school.
  • 90 percent of children between 5-17 use
  • 94 percent of teens use the Internet for
    school-related research.
  • Teens spend more time online using the Internet
    than watching television.
  • High school and college students spend nearly
    400 billion a year.
  • And they increasingly are involved in making
    spending decisions for their parents.

Internet Use by Age
12th Graders Perceptions About School
What Are They Telling Us?
  • We have technology in our blood.
  • -- High School Student

Opportunities for Online K-12 and Higher
Education Collaboration
  • Conference Report and Recommendations

What Are The Problems We Believe Online Education
Can Help Solve ?
  • The leaky pipeline in our educational system
  • Inadequate professional development options for
    K-12 teachers
  • Shortage of K-12 teachers

Intersection of Sloan-C Interests with Social
  • The Sloan-C goal is to make education a part of
    everyday life, accessible and affordable for
    anyone, anywhere, at any time through support of
    effective online higher education programs.
  • The Sloan Foundation has identified three areas
    of online K-12 education that support this goal
  • Online dual-enrollment courses for high-school
  • Online professional development courses for
    practicing teachers
  • Online certification programs for career changers

Conference Overview
  • Funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, planned
    and implemented by Penn State, hosted by the
    Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) on
    March 17, 2006, in Washington, DC
  • Participants included 35 representatives from
    higher education, the K-12 sector, alternative
    education providers (e.g., museums, PBS, National
    Geographic Foundation), and professional
  • Goal to discuss and develop recommendations on
    collaborative efforts to strengthen online K-20

Format of the Conference
  • The day-long conference was divided into two
  • Morning sessions devoted to informational
    presentations and identification of core issues
  • Afternoon sessions focusing on identification of
    successful models of K-12higher education
    collaboration and opportunities for extending
    Sloan Consortium partnerships into the K-12 arena

Baseline Data
  • Presenters Liz Pape (VHS, Inc.) Susan Patrick
    (NACOL) Tony Picciano (Sloan-C and Hunter
  • All three presenters emphasized that there is
    considerable online activity in both higher
    education and K-12, there is little HEK-12
    coordination in relation to curricular
    integration and quality standards.
  • (Data was presented in the first half of this

Online Dual/Concurrent Enrollment
  • Presenters Cheryl Blanco (WICHE) Rafael
    Granados (UC) Gary Wixom (Utah Board of Regents)
  • Primary goals are curricular enrichment,
    preparation for post-secondary success, and
    shortened time to degree
  • Differential availability schools with highest
    minority populations least likely rural schools
    most likely
  • Several state models are emerging Utah funds
    dual enrollment with state appropriations
    provides incentives for students who complete
    Associates degree by summer following HS

Online Teacher Professional Development (OTPD)
  • Presenters Rick Eiserman (Georgia Professional
    Standards Board) Ann Flynn (National School
    Boards Association) Susan Lowes (Teachers
    College) Liz Pape (VHS, Inc.)
  • The topic had a dual focus online development
    opportunities for practicing classroom teachers
    and OTPD for those who teach online.
  • OTPD offers the benefits identified by the SDC as
    characterizing high-quality PD.
  • Online teachers need to know how to build
    community, facilitate project-based learning, and
    promote dialogue learning how to do this online
    as students prepares them to be better online
  • A key challenge is to convince local decision
    makers of the value of OTPD.

Teacher Certification for Career Changers
  • Presenters Robert Henry (MD State Department of
    Education) and Sharnell Jackson (Chicago Public
  • Teacher attrition and retirements, tightening
    standards, and a growing student population are
    stressing an already inadequate
    teacher-preparation system.
  • Traditional preparation programs cant supply the
    2 million new teachers needed to meet the
    nations need for highly qualified teachers, as
    defined by the NCLB legislation.
  • Alternative routes to teacher certification are
    increasingly being adopted to meet the need for
    more and more qualified teachers.

Teacher Certification (cont)
  • As of 2004, 43 states had implemented some type
    of alternative process for certifying teachers
    currently, 20 or more of new teachers enter the
    profession through alternative routes, such a
    Troops to Teachers, Teach for America, and New
    York Teaching Fellows.
  • Traditionally delivered alternative certification
    programs cannot train nearly enough prospective
    teachers to meet the demand, nor do they meet the
    needs of adults filling multiple roles.
  • Online delivery of certification programs
    benefits the prospective teacher, school systems,
    and the higher education institutions that offer
    such programs. However, as with OTPD acceptance
    is still an issue.

Brainstorming and Discussion
  • The first electronic brainstorming session,
    focused on necessary conditions for
    collaboration, barriers to collaboration, and
    specific action steps, resulted in a number of
    common themes
  • The impact of collaboration (or lack of
    collaboration) on student access to educational
  • The lack of incentives for collaboration
  • The challenge of educating decision-makers on the
    value of online education
  • The barrier of funding models that penalize one
    partner in a collaboration

Brainstorming and Discussion (cont)
  • The need for research in the three focus areas,
    in terms of both learning outcomes and
  • The need to broaden the collaborative vision to
    better integrate alternative providers such as
    museums and PBS
  • The need for integrated quality standards
  • The need for coordinated national advocacy by
    national organizations and educational

Recommended Next Steps in K-20 Collaboration
  • Schedule a conference or summit as a follow-up
    to this event.
  • Form an ongoing working group to shape a
    collaborative agenda and carry it forward.
  • Develop a shared research agenda.
  • Develop model collaborative programs.
  • Develop national online K-12 standards, based on
    earlier Sloan-C work and that of other agencies.

Recommended Next Steps (cont.)
  • Further explore the role of non-academic
    providers, such as PBS/CPB, museums, National
    Geographic Foundation, etc.
  • Develop materials to educate school leaders and
    policy makers.
  • Develop a K-12 track at the Sloan-C ALN
  • Expand effective practices database to include
    the three focus areas dual enrollment, OTPD, and
    alternative certification.

The drive of established institutions is to
assimilate and distort the new into conformity
with themselves. John Dewey
Thank You! May we have your views and